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The East Yorkshire village almost wiped out by a nuclear bomb

It was, understandably, opposed by residents By Alex Grove 18 NOV 2018 

It is a quaint rural hamlet on the coast of East Yorkshire with around 600 people and a few small amenities.

Life in Skipsea is peaceful, sleepy and quiet, but a controversial proposal put forward by scientists 65 years ago threatened to effectively wipe out the village from existence and change the face of the seaside village forever.

In 1953, almost 240 miles away from Skipsea in another similarly small Berkshire village called Aldermaston, scientists at the Atomic Research Establishment seriously considered detonating a nuclear weapon next to Skipsea.

At the time it had a medieval church and the remains of a Norman castle but not much else, and its close proximity to the RAF base at Hull made it an ideal spot to explode an atomic bomb.

In the midst of the Cold War, the UK wanted to find a coastal site for an above-ground atomic bomb explosion after detonating under the sea off a group of islands near Australia in 1952.

They first opted for a Scottish beauty spot called Duncansby Wick near Caithness in the Highlands of Scotland, but this plan was halted by the damp.

They turned their attention to Donna Nook in Lincolnshire before settling on Skipsea.

However, the people of the small East Riding village were not going to relinquish their hamlet without a fight. Unsurprisingly, community leaders rallied to protest against the idea arguing the site chosen was too close to bungalows and beach huts. The area’s MPs encouraged the government to reconsider the radical plan and with opposition to the idea too fierce, the government backed down and secured Skipsea’s future with the bomb test carried out at Emu Field – a desert area in South Australia.

The village was still used later on by The Royal Observer Corps as a site for a Cold War observation post on the east coast of England. The site remained active from October 1959 until its decommissioning in September 1991. It gathered dust for years before being restored by an enthusiast ten years ago.

People may not think there is much to do in Skipsea with the village home to a couple of churches and post offices, a village hall a pub and a few shops.

However, this tale of old will just make you appreciate the fact that this quiet, sleepy village even exists at all.


November 19, 2018 - Posted by | history, UK, weapons and war

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